The culture of corruption that enabled a Trooper to lie about Sandra Bland’s arrest needs to be put to rest.
I was as angry watching it the second time around as I was when it first entered my consciousness.
As a journalist, I’ve written about numerous cases of police misconduct, particularly in Philadelphia, but Ms. Bland’s case, above all others, has me gravely concerned about America’s police state and the fragility of government due citizen’s mistrust of its employees, particularly those who wear a badge, carry a gun and can wield almost mystical powers.
The Texas Trooper who arrested Ms. Bland is said, at this time, to have only violated the department’s courtesy policy and that any criminal charges are unlikely. If nothing Mr. Brian Encinia did was criminal, then that makes America a police state and thus a hotbed for corruption.
Because at the very least, Mr. Encinia harassed and threatened Ms. Bland who clearly posed no threat to him; failed to read Ms. Bland’s her rights upon arrest; and filed a false arrest report, saying Ms. Bland was apprehended for assaulting him, when in fact he told Ms. Bland she was under arrest before she exited the car.
The aforementioned, no matter how trivial it may seem to police apologists, is corruption, because it’s dishonest, and that’s what the word corruption means.
Corruption isn’t always the misuse of tax dollars, fixing parking tickets for friends or rigging elections.
Corruption, like anything else, manifest itself in both the macro and micro, with the latter, I suggest, happening more often because it, in the big picture, seems less egregious.
But corruption, at no level, should be tolerated in American government, which is why I call on President Barack Obama to duplicate his Kenyan anti-corruption initiative in America.
Mr. Obama this weekend visited Kenya for the first time as President of the United States of America. And during his visit, Mr. Obama, according to the New York Times, co-introduced with Kenya’s President, a 29-point plan to fight corruption.
Mr. Obama praised Kenya’s growth but asserted that corruption, from their police force to their politicians, is holding them back.
Though I celebrate Mr. Obama for organizing a Task Force on 21st Century Policing, speaking candidly about criminal justice reform, commuting the sentences of prisoners and even visiting a federal prison, Mr. Obama has never called out the American government for its staunch culture of corruption and the time for that candor is now!
An effort to improve police and community relations is without a doubt a noble endeavor, but the root problem isn’t that police aren’t polite, it’s that they wield massive power and face minimal consequences, if any at all, for abusing that power.
The culture of corruption is why a large number of American citizens refuse to believe Ms. Bland took her own life and it’s also why, I’d argue, voter apathy is so high.
I don’t know what is in Mr. Obama’s 29-point plan to fight corruption in Kenya, but I know at least one point which needs to be in the American version: broken windows policing of police officers.
If it’s good for the goose it should be good for that gander, if you will, right?
If the broken windows policing model is so god damn effective at mitigating crime in the streets, than why aren’t we using it in the Senate, in City Halls, in Governor’s mansions nationwide and, more importantly, in our police force?
If you’ll lie about an arrest and it goes unpunished, you’ll lie again and more often and even feel comfortable committing crimes, isn’t that how the theory works?
And since no one wants to move this polarizing policy off the books, let’s spread the wealth around.
If no one has noticed, this country is f*cked up, too, and is in need of intervention in a meaningful way. And not to be too aggressive, assertive or arrogant, but Mr. Obama owes it to Ms. Bland, her family, friends, and supporters—and really, all victims of bureaucratic bullying—to take a strong stance against corruption.
I’m not asking the leader of the free world to do anything crazy, just show the same level of rigor in fighting against America’s government malady that he’s showing for Kenya’s.
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Thanks for reading. Until next time, I’m Flood the Drummer® & I’m Drumming for JUSTICE!™
Photo: AP/Evan Vucci